Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

cosmetics-lnks – 4/18/06


A set of web links to information on medieval cosmetics and perfumes by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.


NOTE: See also the files: bathing-msg, cosmetics-msg, Handcream-art, mirrors-msg, Perfumes-bib, perfumes-msg, Tubd-a-Scrubd-art, p-hygiene-msg, hair-msg, hair-dyeing-msg, Medieval-Hair-lnks.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: liontamr at ptd.net

Subject: Links: Medieval Cosmetics

Date: April 14, 2004 10:04:12 PM CDT

To: StefanliRous at austin.rr.com


This week's Links List is about medieval cosmetics and perfume. Something

every woman holds dear to her heart. I hope you find this information

interesting. If you enjoy Jadwiga's articles on Medieval Dental Hygiene and

Medieval Scented Oils and Waters, please explore her other sites, which are

chock full of great information on related subjects. She is a terrific

person and a knowledgeable lady.


This proved to be a tough search for me (admittedly undertaken while I was

down loading interminable amounts of tax forms, but that surely didn't "tax"

my brain too much). So, if you have information along these lines, the Known

World would love to see it! Please consider publishing on the web.


As always, please USE this information, and pay it forward wherever it will

be welcome. If you forward it, consider cutting my email address off first.

It might save me the odd virus bounce or infection.






(Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt)

Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon




Making Medieval Style Scented Oils & Waters

by Jadwiga Zajaczkowa


(Site Excerpt) The oldest documented 'essential oil' is probably Oil of

Roses. Legends say it was first created by enfleurage, the petals being

immersed in water, the oil floats to the top. Avicenna discovered how to

produce it by distillation in the 10th century. This discovery

(distillation, especially using alcohol) spread throughout the Arab world

and slowly to Europe.


A selection of Dental hygiene and mouthwash products

from a variety of medieval and Renaissance sources


(Site Excerpt) Despite modern ideas to the contrary, people in the middle

ages did spend time trying to take care of their teeth and combat bad

breath. This entry presents a number of period dental hygiene methods and

products, with the some general comments on their production, safety and



Stefan's Florilegium--Perfumes


(Site Excerpt from one message) Tournaments Illuminated, issue #73, winter

A.S. XIX, has an exellent article on pomanders and pouncet-boxes which

includes descriptions of (and one barely OOP recipe for) exactly the kind of

perfumes I described. I _think_ the CA on cosmetics also covered scents.I

suggest checking with you local library for a copy of the_encyclopedia of

the middle ages_. It's not perfect, but it will give you the basics on an

amazing variety of topics- and they give sources.

And, Costmetics :


(Site Excerpt from one message) there is a site at

http://www.dnaco.net/~aleed/corsets/makeup.html">http://www.dnaco.net/~aleed/corsets/makeup.html which

might be of some use to you. It has a fair bit of info about the

Elizabethan ideal of beauty, along with some period recipes, if you're game


Book Suggestion:

Scent in the Garden, by Frances Perry ISBN 086350289X

Combines a history of garden fragrance from ancient, medieval and Tudor

gardens to the present day with ideas for creating scent using window boxes,

water gardens and even a single plant in a pot. There are suggestions on

where to grow scented plants and plants for special purposes. Webb & Bower

(Publishing) London - UK Publication date: 1989-09-18


The Smell of the Middle Ages

By Jacquelyn Hodson


(Site Excerpt) Medieval man possessed a deep knowledge of and a great

appreciation for the fragrances of the natural world. Herbs, flowers and

perfumes formed a large part of every day existence and were inextricably

linked with magic and medicine. The oldest surviving English herbal

manuscript is the Saxon Leech Book of Bald written about AD 900-950. Its

wisdom formed the foundation of every succeeding English medical treatise.


In Pursuit of Beauty

(Medieval Cosmetics, Body Adornments and tattoos)


(Site Excerpt) In life, tree twigs were used to clean the teeth - and the

Anglo-Saxons may have even used the abundant southern chalk to polish their

teeth, as did the Romans. Whole body bathing was certainly not a frequent

occurrence amongst our Anglo-Saxon forbears, but hands, feet, and face were

washed daily, and hands washed prior to eating. The prosperous enjoyed

rubbing scented oils into their skin and hair, but even the poorest cottar

girl could pluck aromatic flowers and herbs and release their cleansing

scent by crushing them in her hands.


Musee de Grasse: International Perfume Museum: Perfume in the Middle Ages

and Renaissance



Perfumery in Western Europe around the 13th century


(Site Excerpt) Musk and floral perfumes were brought to northwest Europe in

the 11th and 12th centuries from Arabia, through trade with the Islamic

world and with the returning Crusaders. Those who traded for these were most

often also involved in trade for spices and dyestuffs. There are records of

the Pepperers Guild of London which go back to 1179; their activities

include trade in spices, perfume ingredients and dyes. There are records

from the reign of Edward I to show that spices and other aromatic exotic

materials were traded in England.



Devoted to the art of body decoration with Henna


This site is copy protected, but is more of a (gorgeous) how-to than an

historical site.


Colors and Scents: The Transitional Period 1300-1500

by Magistra Rosemounde of Mercia, OL

and Mistress Fuiltigherne ni Ruadh O'Finnn, OL


(Site Excerpt) The following is an excerpt from a booklet on period

cosmetics and perfumes prepared by Magistra Rosemounde. The period from

1300-1500 was a period of change in Europe and is sometimes referred to as

the early Renaissance. The dichotomy between the sexes was still of major

importance, along with the emphasis on women's stomachs, but the stylish

look was to be intelligent as well as pious. The fashion was also for women

to have a perpetual look of surprise. Height was desirable, and women wished

to be tall and slender in appearance.


Toiletries Through the Ages

A Pictorial Survey by Emily Savino (Warning: Graphics intense but worth the




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org